First and foremost, go see if Alexander Mattison is available. I doubt that he is but start there. With no Dalvin Cook, he could literally be a league winner for you. After that, these are the best one-week streamers or running back sleepers for your fantasy football semi-finals. To make this list, a player must be on rosters in fewer than 50% of leagues, according to Yahoo! roster rates as of Thursday morning.
Justin Jackson at Houston (44% rostered)
Austin Ekeler is in COVID-19 protocols and is looking extremely unlikely to play this weekend, according to.. Well, Austin Ekeler. That leaves John Kelley, Justin Jackson, and Larry Rountree at running back this weekend. That means… it’s Justin Jackson. Jackson went for 86 yards on 13 carries last week, notching 10.4 half-PPR points. He did that against Kansas City, who are outside the top-ten in fantasy points allowed to running backs, and who had allowed just one double-digit fantasy day to Josh Jacobs, Javonte Williams, Zeke Elliott, Tony Pollard, and Josh Jacobs in the prior four games.
This week, however, Jackson gets the reins and the Houston Texans. The Texans allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game on the season and have given up at least 16 points to a running back in three-straight games. Granted, one of these guys was Jonathan Taylor, but another was Rashaad Penny, who can’t run ten yards without pulling his hamstring off of his bone. So, Justin Jackson is set up against a bad defense without the RB1 on his squad. If you lost Ekeler, or Dalvin Cook, or [insert 25 more guys on the COVID-19 IR], then Jackson can be a good pivot this week.
All-in-all, he’s a great bet to be Massive For All (M4A) who need Guys with Notable Distribution (GND) potential this weekend.
Ameer Abdullah versus Tampa Bay (12% rostered)
Ameer Abdullah isn’t great. But Ameer Abdullah catches passes, which the Panthers (if they’re smart) will use instead of their run game against the Buccaneers. The Buccos have gotten weaker against the run in recent weeks, but their weakness remains the pass. I wouldn’t expect a massive smash game from Abdullah but if you just need to patch a crack, then five targets and 5-7 carries are a good place to start. Abdullah did a lesser version of this last week (four catches, four carries) and he carried a double-digit day thanks to a touchdown, against one of the best defenses in the league.
Duke Johnson Jr. at New Orleans (9% rostered)
I wrote last week that the running back situation in Miami is far more likely to end in a mess than in anyone returning a serious value. That having been said… you still have to snag Duke Johnson, just in case I’m wrong. Because, hell, I’ve been wrong before. And this is me making sure that I have recommended him on paper. Folks, that’s called hedging. The Saints are a bad matchup, except they gave up 18.3 fantasy points to Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette last week, and 14.4 to Tony Pollard the week before. You can beat the Saints with running backs, it’s just easier to beat them with wide receivers. But, Miami is dedicated to passing the football. Luckily, that includes Duke Johnson.
DJJ had the 60% of the 60%/40% split with Myles Gaskin last week, though that number is a bit misleading. According to the CBS broadcast, Gaskin was getting eased back into action thanks to his bout with COVID-19. Duke Johnson carried the ball 22 times and had just one target, but he had 365 targets in his first five years in the league (4.5 targets per game). It’s a long shot, but when everyone else is on COVID-19 IR, longshots are all we have.
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